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Night-time toilet trips more than a wee problem

Nocturia – the need to get up at night to urinate – may be a sign of greater health problems for men.

According to researchers from the University of Adelaide, “Men who regularly wake up more than once a night to pee could be suffering from a range of health conditions.”

“The need to urinate at night is a problem with urine storage, and this disrupts sleep,” said Professor Gary Wittert, head of the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and director of the university’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health. “It is an indication of and can also exacerbate other health conditions.”

Wittert said nocturia and overactive bladder syndrome are risk factors, for example, for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“Nocturia, combined with the sensation of not being able to hold on (urgency), or frequent urination, suggest the presence of overactive bladder syndrome,” he said. “We’re now beginning to understand the broader relevance of this in relation to other health problems.”

One in five of Australian men aged 40 or over and a third of men aged 70 and over have overactive bladder syndrome.

In a paper to be published in the Journal of Urology, researchers said the presence of lower urinary tract symptoms, although commonly thought to relate to the prostate, may have more to do with factors outside of the bladder and prostate.

“These urinary problems are associated with other conditions, such as sleep apnoea, depression or anxiety, and obesity,” says the lead author of the paper, Dr Sean Martin of the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health. “The good news is that many of these problems are treatable or modifiable, and we’ve seen in our study that men can overcome their urinary problems if the underlying issues are correctly managed.”

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